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        Let’s help you get through this odd time where circumstances haven’t fallen into place as we intended, as we hoped, or as we planned. Whatever the reasons may be, here’s your guide on how to postpone or cancel your wedding. This change affects so many people. Aside from you and your fiancé, it affects your vendors, your family, friends, and your venue. Let’s tackle this one step at a time:

        1. First thing’s first, go over your vendor contracts

        Really READ THEM! Be prepared to lose your retainers. The goal of the retainer is to reserve your date — it held up its end of the bargain. So, that will remain with most of your vendors. If you’ve made further payments beyond your retainer, you may be able to talk to your vendor about this and ask for it back. But first, read the contract. Does it say that all payments given must be forfeited if a cancellation occurs? Regardless of the circumstances, whether it be COVID-19, an ill family member, or a break-up… the contract will hold most of your answers.

        For many vendors, the retainer may be transferable. For example, if you wanted to postpone an already booked wedding with me, you can transfer your retainer to a date within 6 months of your original booked date. And, a $300 rescheduling fee is applied. BUT, like other vendors, I can be flexible. Your specific vendors are the resources on how to postpone or cancel your wedding. For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic, I dropped all rescheduling fees and allowed my couples to transfer their retainer for more than 6 months. I understand that this coronavirus situation is completely out of everybody’s hands, I want to be sensitive to that. Your vendors’ approach may be similar, ask to find out! This leads me to my second important point.

        2. Keep in good communication with your vendors

        Keep in contact with your vendors. Have a dialogue with them constantly. Ask them questions and clarifications. And understand that although most of them truly want to help you, they also have bills to pay and a business to uphold. Stay professional and kind. You’re going through something upsetting, but it’s not their fault. They’ll probably put themselves in your shoes too, to understand your circumstances. Many will help you navigate how to postpone or cancel your wedding. Go into the conversation with an open mind, not with an idea that you must get back what you think you deserve.

        We’re all human beings and if you approach your vendor with your experience and heart, it can make all the difference! But, if you don’t get entirely what you want, stay level-headed. Keep your mind in tact, too much is changing already so don’t add the unnecessary stress.

        Keeping your vendors for the postponed date

        If you plan to postpone your wedding, keeping to your current vendors would be your best bet. You know them, you like them, you’ve read their contract and so on. So keep your relationship with them through this odd time. Check their availability. Some of them may be able to transfer their retainers to your new date, helping you save money in that little way. Most vendors will work with you to move your date if they’re available!

        Keep in mind that although you might make changes to your wedding, you might not be able to make any downgrading changes to your contract. For example, after my contract is signed, my couples can add to their package and upgrade but they do not have the flexibility to downgrade the package. If they wanted to, they’d need to cancel that contract and pay a new retainer and create an entirely new contract with a new wedding package. All vendors will vary, but I wanted to discuss my specific info regarding my wedding services!

        How to Postpone or Cancel Your Wedding

        3. Communicate with Your Guests

        Guests have this day marked on their calendars and they should also be told of the changes whether they were planning on flying in or they live across the street. You can send over an email, a letter, or make a phone call. Explain as much as you’re comfortable telling them.

        Narrowing down your guest list for the new date

        If you’ve decided to create a new date, you might have also thought about breaking down your guest list. There’s a few ways you can go about this:

        1. Rewrite your list and narrow down to the people who are most in your lives, who have directly impacted your relationship
        2. Create a survey on your wedding website and have guests tell you if they’d still like to/if they are able to attend the new date or not, you can give them the choice and this will break things down a bit
        3. Explain your situation with a personalized note, email, or call. Most people will truly understand.

        4. Keep the Ceremony and Postpone the Reception

        You may not be heart-set on postponing your entire wedding date. Don’t if that’s not what you want. Elope with your fiancé and then party with your favorite people later! During the COVID-19 Pandemic, for example, only gatherings of 10 or less are allowed. Have a small intimate wedding in a state or national park (or a ceremony of just the two of you) and then book your reception venue next year! To learn how to Elope during COVID-19 without sacrificing a thing from your day, click here!

        This is my guide on navigating this new and different time. Hope you learned a bit on how to postpone or cancel your wedding.

        How to Postpone or Cancel Your Wedding, Fatima Elreda Photo

        San Diego Wedding Photographer Fatima Elreda Photo, Self Portrait

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